Home Blog Page 3

How Artist S.H. Raza Broke New Ground for Modernism – ARTnews.com


When the artist Sayed Haider Raza (1922–2016) was a child living in a small, forested village in in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, his teacher drew a circle on the board and told him to concentrate on it to stay focused.

Years later, the circle returned into the artist’s life, this time drawn by S.H. Raza himself on his now iconic paintings depicting the bindu. Sanskrit for “drop,” “point,” or “grain,” a bindu is a symbol of the cosmos and the point of all creation in Indian philosophy. S.H. Raza’s black bindus burst and anchor his abstract geometric paintings in burning yellows, oranges, greens, and reds. They are setting and rising suns within interior, symbolic landscapes, where lines of poetry in Hindi or other vernacular languages sometimes emerge.

Related Articles

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 07: The Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture, commonly known as the Centre Pompidou, or more colloquially, as

These masterpieces, including explorations of his native land, are characteristic of Raza’s paintings made primarily between the 1960s and the ’80s, and make for fiery, swift entry points into his creations. They speak their own, mysterious language in dialogue simultaneously with his Western contemporaries and his Indian heritage. They are also an overripe introduction to the often miscategorized and under-recognized universe of modern Indian art, of which S.H. Raza was a leading figure.

In a belated effort to help rectify that, S.H. Raza’s paintings have been united in a rare, though restrained gathering of some 90 paintings at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, on view until May 15. The exhibition is a first retrospective for the artist in France, where he lived from 1950 until 2011, and highlights his earlier, lesser-known experimental works. Unfortunately, his groundbreaking abstract geometric ­paintings, which reach their crescendo in the early ’80s, are introduced relatively late into the exhibition and feel under-represented as a result. Still, seeing S.H. Raza’s painterly progression, fleshed out in this chronologically organized exhibition, reveals a fascinating life of artistic question and response, battled out on canvas.

During his time in France, S.H. Raza traveled to India annually, effectively straddling both continents, and refusing to be pinned to either. He “lived with a dual belonging, and a dual consciousness,” said Roobina Karode, director and chief curator of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, a significant lender to the exhibition. “He really did not like how people said he was an Indian painter in Paris. He was trying to reach out to the cosmos, to embrace the entire thing, and break that narrow vision.”

An abstract painting that has various geometrical shapes in reds, oranges, yellows, blacks, and whites, with a black sun at the top center.

S.H. Raza, Black Sun, 1968.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. Collection Jeroo Mango, Mumbai.

Raza is among India’s most celebrated artists, and a co-founder of the country’s renowned Progressive Artists Group (PAG), along with M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, S.K. Bakre, and others. Formed on the eve of Indian independence in 1947, the group rebelled against previous, colonial-era artistic movements such as the Bengal School of Painting, which focused on “true Hindu art,” or works “free of colonial infection,” as Partha Mitter writes in 20th Century Indian Art, a recent survey published by Thames & Hudson.

Instead, PAG artists explored what a new national identity might entail. They looked to Indigenous philosophical and artistic traditions, while also embracing a form of internationalism that was curious about Western art, but not derivative of it, as is often misunderstood.

PAG artists “were struggling with wanting to be seen globally, beyond India, because they felt they were equally competent, and equally involved in the practice of modernism,” Karode told ARTnews. “They were open to influences, but they were actually trying to make meaning of what it was to be modern in their own context.”

And, as Karode pointed out, Eastern philosophy heavily influenced European modernism. “This traversing of influences is happening all the time, but [historiographies tend to say] it always started from the West. What comes out of [India], doesn’t get equally acknowledged, and that acknowledgement is something these artists were passionately working toward,” she said. “It was not a one-way street.”

A vertical abstract painting that has a red background and faint black circle at center top below is a mix of colors in blues, whites, yellows, gray, and more.

S.H. Raza, Ondhu, Heart Is Not Ten or Twenty, 1964.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

The Pompidou exhibition’s curator, Catherine David, agreed the “derivative question comes up for every modern artwork that is not from the self-proclaimed centers of modernity. It’s very complicated to deconstruct, but we’re working on it.” As early as the 19th century, Indian artists used their own modes of expression “that are not in any way replicas,” forming a body of modern and contemporary art that is quintessentially figurative, she explained.

Raza, however, took a peripheral course to that of his Indian peers, despite maintaining a close bond to his artistic cohort and origins. He distanced himself from their dominant figurative art, moving toward abstraction. In the exhibition, this development is illustrated from rarely seen early watercolors on paper, depicting Indian cities, female figures, and geometric landscapes devoid of people, reminiscent of Bernard Buffet, van Gogh, Gauguin, and fellow PAG member and friend, F.N. Souza.

A flat landscape showing a mass of flat buildings on a golden background.

S.H. Raza, Haut de Cagnes, 1951.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. The Darashaw Collection.

Works in this mode brought Raza relative early recognition, particularly during the years he was more closely associated with the Paris School of artists. He was the first non-European artist to receive the Prix de la Critique in 1956, and he exhibited in major international cities, including the Venice Biennale in 1956. The gallery Lara Vincy represented him in France, and he enjoyed widespread visibility in India as well. In 1959 he married French artist Janine Mongillat (1930–2002), whom he met through friends from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris, where he studied on scholarship from 1950 to 1953. Unfortunately, none of Mongillat’s intriguing artworks, including strange, painted sculptures and collages made from found objects and paper mâché, are included in the exhibition to highlight another source of influence for Raza.

By the ’60s, a major change was afoot in his practice. “Raza started getting a little anxious about feeling there wasn’t much of India in him,” said poet Ashok Vajpeyi, a longtime friend of the late artist and head of the Raza Foundation. “So, he started on a different direction, and moved toward a kind of abstraction.”

He began looking increasingly to Rajput miniature paintings on paper, dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, moved by “their power, in terms of composition, space, and color,” David said. “Little by little, Raza finished with figuration, and he embarked on the process of deconstruction, toward an explosion of color, until we are left with a colored composition.”

An abstract painting  that is mostly black and brown with shades of green, red, yellow, and white.

S.H. Raza, La Terre, 1977.

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. New Delhi

Soon came large, flat areas of vibrating pigment, composed within linearly divided segments of canvas, informed by Mark Rothko as well as other American Abstract Expressionists. He discarded Parisian shades and opted for colors evoking hot, humid Indian summers. His childhood memories of walking alone at night through the forest led to a key series of works from the 1970s, titled “La Terre”(the land), where poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke also comes in as an influence. In these works, glowing points of light break through darkness and chaos.

Around the same time, examined roughly a third of the way through the exhibition, references to Indian spirituality become more prevalent, including early references to bindus as well asnagas, kundalini, Indian poetry, and classical music, known as ragas. As one rounds the exhibition’s last leg, Raza effectively enters his well-known “radical and symbolic geometric abstraction,” per the wall text. His masterworks titled Maa (Mother), Rajasthan, and Saurashtra, to name a few, can include bindus drawn with the perfection of a protractor, alongside dense, roughly gestural geometric forms and color, painted within rectangular strips and square marked segments. The latest works on view are pared down, cleaner, and more uniform, losing much of their vibrancy and singularity. Raza’s symbolic, ordered forms often reference renewal and a cyclical concept of time, and are a support for meditation in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions.

An abstract painting that appears to be divided in two halves with various shapes throughout.

S.H. Raza, Saurashtra, 1983.

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

Born into a Muslim family, Raza’s father was a forest ranger who interpreted Islam liberally, leading to his son’s interest in Hinduism and Christianity, all three of which are referenced over the course of his career. “He created an indirect narrative around elements of his own culture and civilization, that was a very important aspect of his work to me,” said artist Manish Pushkale, a mentee of Raza’s who has previously exhibited alongside his teacher.

In the last decade, demand for S.H. Raza’s works has hit record highs, rising 800 percent in value at auction between the mid-1990s and 2010s, reaching a top price of $4.45 million at Christie’s in New York in 2018. “The hardest thing for us is sourcing these incredible works,” said Damian Vesey, a specialist modern and contemporary South Asian art at Christie’s.

S.H. Raza, Punjab, 1969.

©2022 The Raza Foundation/ADAGP, Paris®. Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

At a packed opening at the Pompidou, visitors, many of whom flew in for the event, dressed in a myriad of sparkling saris, lending the event a festive touch, not incompatible with the works on view.

“I think Raza had a celebrative instinct, unlike the usual modernists, where there is disruption, dislocation, tension,” Vajpeyi said. “Raza tried, on the other hand, to reach consonance, tranquility. He was trying a different kind of modernism, which undid the dichotomy between the sensuous and the spiritual. For him, they were more or less the same.”

Describing Raza as a “master colorist,” Vajpeyi added, “Raza’s legacy is that colors can speak. They can sing.”

Source link

Asus ROG Phone 7 Release Date, Price & Specs Rumours


Source link

Apple AR/VR Headset Release Date, Design & Feature Rumours


Source link

Best Instant Cameras 2023: From Polaroid to Instax


Source link

Alejandro Cesarco at Galería Elba Benitez


In his novel The Man Without Qualities (1930/42), Robert Musil wrote, “Unfortunately, nothing is so hard to achieve as a literary representation of a man thinking,” because the outcome “no longer has the form of the thinking process as one experiences it, but already that of what has been thought, which is regrettably impersonal.” Rising to the task, Alejandro Cesarco’s new video Midcareer, 2023, the central work of the solo show “Subtitled/Subtitulado,” takes the form of active thinking, tethered by language and not much else. A journey through the purgatory of midcareer, the video follows the artist’s alter ego as he looks back twenty years at his former self, writing without the “determining weight of a previous trajectory,” striving to find the difference within the sameness imposed by “style,” oscillating between recursion and the hope to encounter a full-stop punctuation mark.

Moving between alterity and identity, “Subtitled/Subtitulado” stages the self as a place haunted by memories (the documentary photograph All the Doors of My Mothers Home, 2022); artistic influence (the six mock book pages The Style It Takes [Excerpts], 2014); and the need to right past wrongs (Errata, 2020, a list of revisions that replaces the word intimacy with fragility). The selection of works negotiates the relation between style as a coded modality of world-making and a subject who is initially wordless or whose world is made of speech and affect. To call “Subtitled/Subtitulado” “poetic” falls short of understanding its meaning. To call it “personal” is nothing but a platitude. Rather, to draw on Musil, the exhibition is a reflexive interplay between indeterminacy and consistency, capturing the affinities and (in)coherence of the things that meet inside one’s head.

Source link

Google Pixel Tablet Release Date, Price & Specs Rumours


Source link

“Njabala: Holding Space” at Njabala Foundation


“Njabala: Holding Space” is the second iteration of the annual exhibition program for the Njabala Foundation, which was launched in 2021 by Ugandan curator Martha Kazungu as a means to increase visibility for women artists. The folk tale that the show takes as its point of departure concerns a lazy girl whose parents are so rich that she never has to do anything for herself. Helpless upon their death, she gets married and summons the ghost of her mother to till the land and handle her chores. The exhibition opens with Mable Akeu’s hyperrealist charcoal-and-colored-pencil drawings, which linger on the intimate act of a mother tending to her daughter’s hair. The curatorial choice to follow this scene with Pepita Biraaro’s paintings mirrors the anguish the fictional Njabala must have felt at the loss of her parents. While Biraaro’s canvases are primarily abstract, in Abandoned, 2022, one can make out a lone, desolate figure curled in the fetal position. This thread continues with Birungi Kawooya’s trio of wax pastel drawings on bark cloth and banana fiber, in which she works through familial trauma and the pain of isolation. The British-born artist, who has been in residence in Uganda, emphasizes the use of local materials like the banana fiber (the fruit is a staple of the country’s cuisine).

For Pamela Enyonu’s installation A Few Burning Questions, 2023, woven baskets, traditionally used for food, hang from the ceiling. Suspended within each is a copper-coated gourd inscribed with questions like “Do I love?” On the ground below them are raised winnowing fans with bean seeds, a reference to the kind of gendered labor that Njabala never learned.

Source link

What’s the Fastest Broadband in the UK?


Source link

Nixta’s Kernels of Magic – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine


Can you taste the difference between red and blue corn; pink and yellow corn; and white, purple, and beige corn?

“I feel like your yellow tortilla is… cornier?” I say, feeling a little ridiculous as I grope for language while talking about flavors with Nixta owners—and heirloom corn wizards—Gustavo and Kate Romero.

“Yes,” Gustavo says with a nod, laughing. “Cornier. Exactly.”

I feel vindicated. Nixta’s yellow corn tortilla is indeed made with cornier corn! Emboldened, I plunge along, inventing even sillier sentences. “And the reds and pinks are sweeter? The blue is…flintier?”

“That’s what I think, too,” says Gustavo. “Colored corn has the same antioxidants you find in blueberries or strawberries, so it makes sense that we taste them as fruity. Flinty can be how you perceive starch.”

Nixta Tortilleria and Mexican Takeout in Northeast Minneapolis is a two-pronged way of getting heirloom corn in front of the people of the Twin Cities. As a commercial tortilleria, Nixta sells bags of tortillas from its own storefront and also supplies 20 groceries and other businesses with tortillas, especially co-ops and restaurants like south Minneapolis’s Petite León. As a Mexican takeout spot, it posts menus midweek on its social media, and people can come pick up an ever-changing menu of tacos, tostadas, soups, tamales, chips and salsas, and more on Fridays and Saturdays.

Nixta does this all from a long, narrow kitchen with a narrow street-front counter space. This spring, possibly as soon as late March, it will expand into an adjoining space with Oro, a 60-seat counter-service spot with tables that will start as a simple extension of what it’s already doing—Nixta takeout, but eat-in, with tables. As time goes on, the Romeros plan to slowly and organically add elements, such as beverages, dinner hours, patio seating, and so on. So, Oro will start small, and if all goes well, soon—say, by summer—it will be its own thing, maybe a little like an artisanal tortilla–focused Sea Salt, with food runners and table bussers.

Looking around the pumpkin-seed-tinted room soon to hold Oro, I can practically feel the Romeros’ big dreams populating the space with tacos and the taco pilgrims from far and wide coming to taste what a great chef can do within a humble frame.

Gustavo Romero is that chef. He has a goatee and penetrating dark eyes; he looks like the sort of chef who might be tapped for food TV, and it turns out he was, winning a round of Chef Wanted on the Food Network and racking up big-news reviews at big-dollar destinations like San Francisco’s Credo before settling down to devote himself to making tortillas. He ended up in Minneapolis for the usual reason: to settle down with a beautiful woman in a place anchored by family, parks, and affordability—though, in this case, the beautiful woman also had elite cooking chops of her own as a veteran cook from Surly’s Brewer’s Table and Travail. Enter Northeast’s Polish, no-nonsense, green-eyed Katarzyna Kiernoziak, now Kate Romero, who is co-owner and president of the best corn-tortilla maker in the state.

In the country, maybe? That’s Gustavo Romero’s dream. He might be there already. No one really seems to be flying around the country as the official tortilla critic, and even for the makers, the shared vocabulary of tortilla connoisseurship is still evolving as we experience these ancient yet hard-to-describe tastes.

Corn wasn’t always simply yellow, uniform, patented, and exhausting out of tailpipes of Chevrolets. 

“I feel like the first time I had one of our tostadas, I thought, It’s like one giant piece of popcorn. Thick, crispy popcorn,” adds Kate, her long dark hair catching the light from snowy 2nd Street outside the windows. “Popcorn, but filling popcorn,” she says with a knowing smile. “People are always telling me when they order, ‘I can eat 10 tacos.’ I say, ‘Of ours? These are food. All the fiber, three ingredients: corn, salt, water. They’re practically a vegetable. Three tacos in, I’m super full. I bet you can’t eat 10 of our tacos.’”

Sitting in the future home of Oro, the three of us try to unbraid the various strands of Gustavo’s obsession with the Western hemisphere’s core food: corn. First domesticated some 8,700 years ago, corn became the pillar of Indigenous food from Peru to Maine. Corn today is in our gas tanks and our Cokes, and in 2021, it was planted on 92.7 million U.S. acres, which is about 150,000 square miles, or a little larger than Germany and Belgium combined. Imagine all of Germany and Belgium, edge to edge with no cities, no mountains, no rivers and only corn.

Corn wasn’t always simply yellow, uniform, patented, and exhausting out of tailpipes of Chevrolets. Corn used to be something else, something of various heights and sizes, various colors and flavors, each variety as different from the next as apple varieties are different, like Red Delicious and Honeygold. Today, in the front window at Nixta, you can see display jars of ancient heirloom corn varietals that Gustavo and Kate import: bright bolita blanca from Oaxaca, nearly black-blue Chalqueño azul from Estado de México, wine-red rojo Xitocle from Milpa Alta. The Nixta crew takes this heirloom corn and cooks it with the contemporary, food-grade version of the ancient Aztec limestone grinding bowl—that is, pure calcium hydroxide—in a step that nixtamalizes it (makes it both more nutritious and able to hold together as dough for tortillas). Finally, they grind it and run it through a tortilla-making machine.

Gustavo tells me he’s so immersed in the nuances of corn flavors that he’s pretty sure, at this point in his corn journey, he could tell a red corn tortilla from a white or blue one blindfolded.

This lifelong corn journey began when Gustavo was a kid in Tulancingo, a historic corn and fabric hub not too far from Mexico City. There, he did what all the other kids did: come home for the midday lunch break, pick up money from Mom, and use the time to go stand in the long, snaking line at the nearest tortilleria with all the other kids. “You could see every step,” recalls Gustavo now. “The truck delivering the corn, the people grinding it, the tortilla-making machine, everything like a show about tortillas.”

For 15 pesos a kilogram, he’d get a bundle of warm, just-made tortillas wrapped in butcher paper. He’d pull the top tortilla from the stack, shake on some salt supplied by the tortilleria, and walk home munching a salt taco, the reward for patience.

When he left home at 17, and for the next dozen years, Gustavo’s corn journey went underground. During that time, he turned himself into a club-kid DJ and salsa-dancing instructor, then into an Atlanta Le Cordon Bleu cooking school star, and finally into the protégé to bigwig Italian chef Mario Luigi Maggi. Maggi was so impressed with his young cook that he sent him to cook in Florence, then deployed him as chef de cuisine at Maggi’s then-latest, San Francisco’s Credo, an elite restaurant of the sort that flings around amuse-bouches and micro-herbs.

You can see this fine-cooking finesse, this four-star American restaurant culture training, all over Nixta. Spring tacos last year included ramps and soft-shell crab, and when Gustavo does pop-ups around town, he will dot plates with an artful hop-skip of glossy sauces fit for a Michelin-star judge. More than a stepping stone in Gustavo’s career, Credo would prove fateful for both the Romeros, and Minneapolis taco culture, for this is where the two cooks met.

Kate had also trained at Le Cordon Bleu, but here in Minnesota. She followed a boyfriend out to San Francisco, but after that blew up, she stayed to prove she could cook with the best—and did. Kate and Gustavo fell in love, with each other and with a shared vision that food should be nurturing and wholesome as well as artful. The couple lived and worked all over the place for a few years. Eventually, Kate decided that Minneapolis was the best city for her. Gustavo still wasn’t sure, and he went to the Bay Area to cook at Calavera, focused on New Mexican cuisine. Suddenly, everything in his mind seized on one question: How did he know so much about Italian food and almost nothing of the cuisine he was born into?

“All of these old ladies ran circles around me,” recalls Gustavo now. “They’d overcook the corn and ask me if it was right. Then laugh. They were not easy on me, but I learned a lot. It made me realize I didn’t know anything about my food, almost nothing. I started reading a lot. No more Thomas Keller. Now it’s Enrique Olvera, Mexican food history, reading, reading, reading. I reconnected with my mom. I called her on the phone: Why this? How that? And the deeper you get into Mexican food history? Corn. Corn. Corn.”

He moved to Minneapolis for good. He partnered with the Travail crew for Kua, the Mexican pop-ups, and felt like he was cooking his own food, for real, for the first time in his life. “I got two Bib Gourmands,” he reflects now, on the prestigious Michelin awards he snagged during the California part of his life. “But before Calavera, I never made a good tortilla. How crazy is that?”

Kate pivoted to catering, finding she was now more interested in cooking healthy food in a sane way than she was in creating fancy food. In 2019, the two made their cooking partnership and love paperwork-official, flying to Mexico City to get married surrounded by family. Gustavo took a job with Marin Restaurant in the downtown Le Meridien Chambers hotel, his cooking ambitions trained on Taco Tuesdays in the bar, built on hand-ground tortillas. Marin imported giant 50-pound sacks of Mexican corn. Then life brought March 2020, with all its disruption.

“I reconnected with my mom. I called her on the phone: Why this? How that? And the deeper you get into Mexican food history? Corn. Corn. Corn.”

Gustavo Romero

“When the pandemic came, we had 400, 500 pounds of corn on hand,” recalls Gustavo. “They were like, ‘Take it home; who knows what’s going to happen.’ We stashed it in our apartment, Kate’s sister’s house, Kate’s mother’s house. We had corn everywhere.”

After a bit of bouncing off the walls, Gustavo started grinding this corn by hand in the backyard behind their apartment, cooking for friends and family in their apartment kitchen. Kate’s sister dashed off an email seeking friends who wanted food, and by the end of the day, they had four families. The next week, eight families. The next, they declared the week’s food sold out at 75 orders. Nixta was born.

“I was working at Chowgirls, which was perfect because I was pregnant, and we needed health insurance,” remembers Kate. “I’d be leaving for work; corn dust would be blowing through the backyard, and I was like, ‘I’ll keep this job with health insurance; you go follow your crazy tortilla dream. See you later!’”

The first time I tried Nixta’s food, the thing that leapt out at me was how Romero’s food bears a much more obvious kinship to Bib Gourmand food than to Grandma’s home cooking. A tostada is covered with a satiny puree of avocado, segments of pith-free orange and grapefruit, lightly dressed baby kale, and a pretty geometry of half-moons of roasted beet. Tacos dorados, rolled and fried, are filled with a puree of hibiscus blossoms and butternut squash and dressed with two creams, white and green, and radishes sliced thinly enough to read through. A taco holds finger-long young carrots, braised carefully so they show the brown sugar of Maillard reaction on three surfaces, with the carrots resting on a slippery hummus stuck with bright greens. A bowl of pozole verde is made with heirloom Peruvian hominy corn that has an almost scallop-like sweetness and minerality. But it was the pork broth that was attention-stealing: so deeply flavorful but also clean, un-muddy, un-home-like, it tasted of someone in chef’s whites standing next to the pot and skimming and straining, straining and skimming. You must get the simple chips and dips of salsa verde and salsa rojo; they’re each astonishing. The salsa verde, made with fresh, ripe (not roasted) tomatillos, lime juice, cilantro, scallions—it tastes like a sunbeam made of the idea of salsa verde, so bright, so fruity, so alive. The salsa rojo is its own sunbeam, but through fires at sunset.

So try this. Get the Nixta salsas and a bag of the Nixta tostadas—that is, Nixta’s tortillas, fried, which makes the various flavors easier to tease out. Now, sit down and try to taste the differences in this rainbow—corny, fruity, flinty? The salsas help, bringing out different notes, resetting your palate.

As you go, consider: The story of corn is nearly 9,000 years old and still being written. Each of us can only add a dot or a paragraph as we go, and right now, two great chefs are bringing their professional best to add their own bit to the tale. Wouldn’t it be great if we all figured out some corny, fruity, flinty vocabulary so we could all read and write it together? 1222 NE 2nd St., Mpls.

Source link

MTV and the Hirshhorn’s Artist Competition Take Up Profound Injustices – ARTnews.com


(Spoiler alert: this article contains information and plot points from the third episode of The Exhibit.)

As we pass the half-way point of the competition, the seven artists are tasked with creating a work of art that addresses a profound injustice for the fourth episode of The Exhibit, a new six-episode docuseries created by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and MTV.

Though the artists seem groggy, with only ten hours to complete the work, they also appear to have acclimated more to both their settings and to each other. “I understand that we’re in a competition, but I have a lot of friends here now,” remarks Jillian Mayer.

Related Articles

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: Visitors look at visionary artist Yayoi Kusamas monumental Pumpkin at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC on March 25, 2022. The exhibition, One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection, showcases Kusamas two transcendent Infinity Mirror Rooms, sculptures, an early painting, and photographs of the artist.  (Photo by Shuran Huang for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Guest judges Adam Pendleton and Kenny Schachter return alongside Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu to assess the artists on their originality, quality of execution, and concept of work. Chiu reminds the group, “You’re visual storytellers and the story is always the key ingredient to make any artwork great.”

This week’s inspiration from the Hirshhorn collection includes Mark Bradford’s site-specific installation Pickett’s Charge (2017), depicting the final Gettysburg battle that signaled the beginning of the end of the Civil War, and Ai Weiwei’s installation Trace (2014), portraying 176 activists from thousands of Lego bricks.

Some early standouts include Frank Buffalo Hyde’s landscape painting of Mount Rushmore, wherein the mountain is restored to its former glory as a sacred Indigenous site; Baseera Khan’s soft sculpture showing the negative space between three rings calling into question, “Who gets a seat at the table?”; and Jennifer Warren’s depiction of the Hearse driver comic strip (related to her winning painting in the first episode), which details the removal of Black men from their families.

Warren’s painting was inspired by her father’s experience growing up in the American South during the start of desegregation.

“I started school as the first Black in an all-white school. I had a confrontation with a teacher who spit on me. Three months after that I left and they wouldn’t let me go back to her class,” Warren’s father says, his voicing breaking with emotion. “And she was the only English teacher in the school and I had to stay there, go to her room, in order to graduate. So I wind up going back to the all-Black school.”

Jennifer adds, “I wasn’t taught about this in school and that’s part of the injustice.”

Drawing on a similar idea, Jamaal Barber’s abstract wood panel collage focuses on the late 23-year-old Guinean student Amadou Diallo, who was shot at by cops 41 times and killed on his way home in 1999.

In another emotionally weighty challenge, however, one can almost always count on Misha Kahn for levity. Mayhem strikes again as expanding foam spews from a pink plastic dolphin pool toy. Kahn, who chose to focus on telling the story of the nearly-extinct Vaquita porpoise in a mixed-media installation, again faced difficulties with material experimentation.

“I never tried pouring the expanding foam into a pool toy,” says Kahn. “I forgot how hot it got and I thought there was a good chance that it would just fully disintegrate.” Luckily, he was able to use the extra foam to make parts like fins to complete his project.

As the judges walked around to offer some initial feedback, some of the artists responded while others chose to stay the course. Barber, for example, opted to be less literal in his abstract experimentation—a move well beyond the artist’s comfort zone as a printmaker.

“Now, given the times we live in, you might assume that it would all be about social justice,” reflects Chiu on the artists’ work. “But, in fact, all of the artists had their own opinions and interests in their own lives and the ways that justice impacted on them.”

As time winds down, Barber begins to second guess his foray into abstraction while Clare Kambhu starts to consider a contingency plan. Kambhu, who returns to still-life painting after last week’s departure into abstraction, considers schools as both a place of oppression and meaningful change in a depiction of student chairs arranged to indicate that a discussion had just occurred.

“I see my work as an artist in tandem with my work as a teacher in a school system,” explains Kambhu who believes that, while art can have a broader impact in the public sphere, teaching can have a greater affect on an individual. It is revealed that prior to teaching middle and high school, she taught the incarcerated.

Also feeling the time crunch is Khan, who did not finish their project last week, but this week has come to find value in the looming deadline, saying, “limitations makes for magic.”

Some additional inspiration from the Hirshhorn—because what is this if not an opportunity to present more art from the museum’s collection?—comes from the Guerrilla Girls who highlight sexism and racism in their works Pop Quiz (1990) and Advantages of Being a Woman Artist (1988).

Despite a chaotic installation, everyone managed to finish. In this week’s crit, the judges felt that Mayer, whose installation highlighted the ways in which media and social platforms profit from outrage, had haphazardly pieced together disparate elements, while Barber’s piece didn’t tell the story he intended because his piece was too abstracted. Khan’s work, meanwhile, left them wishing the artist had done more.

The judges were impressed that Buffalo Hyde’s painting challenged our nation’s understanding of Mount Rushmore from a native perspective and, similarly, that Warren’s painting further expanded on an earlier story that they felt needs to be told.

Ultimately, it came down to Kahn—clad in a Vaquita Milk shirt much like a brand representative—and Kambhu. The judges applauded the Herculean speed and quality of Kahn’s work, as well as of his use of absurdity to engage with an issue. Kambhu, however, was able to offer a commentary on public education and the importance of it from her own perspective as a public teacher—and, for that, she received her second win.

Source link

Elizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary


Though Elizabeth Talford Scott’s stalwart contributions to fiber art warrant great acclaim, she is, unfortunately, underappreciated beyond Baltimore, where she lived from the early 1940s until her death at the age of ninety-five in 2011. She was not lauded in the landmark traveling exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” 2017–20, which debuted at the Tate Modern in London, or in the more recent survey “Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South,” 2022–23, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. A substantial yet concise retrospective here—covering nearly two decades of Scott’s textile-based output across thirteen extraordinary works—partly remedies these omissions.                      

Born in 1916 on a plantation near Chester, South Carolina, to a family of sharecroppers, Scott was taught to repurpose discarded materials and learned to quilt at an early age. These indelible lessons formed the cornerstone of her untrammeled art, which is often festooned by a catholic array of shiny objects. Gaze upon the bedazzled surfaces of these fastidiously sutured amalgamations and behold a haptic smorgasbord fit to satisfy even the most insatiable viewer. Take The Family of the Whosits, 1995, a roughly five-foot-high ovoid ecstatically adorned with patterned fabric, buttons, beads, rocks, shells, sequins, and other miscellany. Or consider Upside Downwards, 1992, another unbridled wall-mounted and bric-a-brac-laden piece of similar scale. As with fractals, the more one looks, the more there is to discover. The visual feast continues and reaches a celebratory crescendo in Birthday, 1997, which is emblazoned with dozens of faux pearls along its undulating border. Scott’s byzantine creations play by their own rules and rejoice in a type of unfettered abundance that is generous, dizzying, and truly unforgettable.

Source link

Christina Quarles’s Paintings Probe Prismatic Senses of Self – ARTnews.com


The first thing I noticed when Christina Quarles opened the door for a studio visit was her face—round, inviting, with light and freckled skin, dark and piercing eyes. I extended my hand in greeting, enacting a dynamic that the Los Angeles–based artist explores in her paintings: though she sees faces as central to how we conceive other people as beings with unified bodies, she suggests we experience our own bodies largely through our appendages, a fragmented and abstracted view of ourselves.

The bodies in Quarles’s paintings—always entangled or embracing, often nude but multicolored—never feel whole, even when a viewer can trace which limbs belong to which torso. Laid Down Beside Yew (2019) depicts a tangle of bodies emerging from two planes: one patterned like a tartan blanket, the other an ambiguous green oblong shape. Three faces are present, but devoid of details; what holds the focus is a ravel of arms and legs. Quarles’s prioritization of these appendages, in this painting and elsewhere, hints at an internalized consciousness rather than an external one. The figures are defined largely by their limbs: the doers of the body, drivers of action, implements for intimacy.

Related Articles

Across Quarles’s oeuvre, hands blur and repeat to suggest animated motion (as in O Holy Nite, 2021), legs dangle with liquid limpness (By Tha Skin of Our Tooth, 2019), and limbs seem to twist through space like creaturely tentacles (A Little Fall of Rain, 2020). Her figures are rarely painted like those of Joan Semmel or Luchita Hurtado, whose views are clearly from the perspective of the artists looking down at their own bodies, in emphatically corporeal self-portraiture. Quarles’s bodies are other. “The poses and the figuration are always from this muscle memory of looking and drawing other bodies,” the artist told me.

A highly abstracted rendering of dripping bodies against a boldly patterned surface like a blanket.

Christina Quarles: By Tha Skin of Our Tooth, 2019.

Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, New York, and Pilar Corrias, London

Yet her images portray others as we see ourselves; they are portraits of living within a body. Even when Quarles includes faces, they are often obscured by hands or masks, or they disappear into nothingness, lack distinguishing features, or melt into a meaty mess. Quarles avoids giving viewers the access they are most accustomed to: a clear reading of a face that conveys a person’s identity and emotional tenor.

Quarles’s own body informs the figures she paints, but only to a point. “Many of the marks and decisions are based on a one-to-one scale with my body,” she explained. “The length of a gesture is the length of my wingspan. Any sense of self-portraiture is related to scale.”

While in the process of painting, Quarles plays with images of her works in progress on a computer, using the trackpad to change the scale of her gestures and consider different compositional options. In this digital stage of her work, she often introduces intricate patterns and precise shapes that contrast with her looser figurative style, like the planes—one patterned like a quilt, the other like stained glass—in Bless tha Nightn’gale (2019).

Quarles describes this process as a state of constant zigzagging; the same phrase could describe the overlapping and sometimes contradictory narratives and tones within each piece. In Yer Tha Sun in my Mourning Babe (2017), a figure lounges on what might be a beach towel, face framed by hands, propped up on elbows. A swath of blue and white along the top of the canvas suggests the glimmer of distant water or sky. The figure seems to yawn in the heat. With its downturned mouth, though, the face comes to resemble a Munchian scream, and the pleasant summery scene devolves into something more disconcerting.

A mass of what appears to be multiple bodies going into and out of a portal of some kind.

Christina Quarles: New Moon, 2021.

Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, New York, and Pilar Corrias, London

A second figure, less apparent at first, emerges with its dark gray arm wrapping around the main figure’s leg. The complications within the painting—between tender love and horrifying possession, sun-soaked indolence and hysterical grief, even the titular word “mourning” and its homonym “morning”—undermine any single read. As with all of Quarles’s work, the longer you look, the more complex and ambivalent the image becomes. These are not, or not only, scenes of intimacy or self-examination: they also contain shades of violence, revulsion, and self-doubt.

Quarles was born in Chicago in 1985 to a Black father and a white mother, and her fascination with self-perception started in early childhood, when she realized that the way others saw her body was not how she understood herself. “To me, that comes largely from being in a multi-racial body that’s usually seen as white, especially by white people,” she said, “and then, on top of that, being in a queer body.”

Quarles moved to Los Angeles when she was young and grew up near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which she visited often. One of the paintings that stuck with her was David Hockney’s Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980). She marveled at how Hockney could paint something very recognizable—the city’s iconic hills and winding drives—yet do it through abstracted patterns and fantastical color.

In her undergraduate studies at Hampshire College, in western Massachusetts, Quarles explored bodily perception through the lens of critical race theory. Later, at the Yale School of Art, she began conveying her interest in bodies and identity through figurative art. She wanted to be “very clear and direct about ambiguity,” she said, but she hadn’t figured out how. A revelation came during a lecture by painter Jack Whitten, when she saw how acrylic paint could take on the appearance of collage.

A painting of writhing bodies peering into what looks like a window or a door.

Christina Quarles: O Holy Nite, 2021.

Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, New York, and Pilar Corrias, London

Professors tried to dissuade her from figurative work, which in the 2010s was mostly out of fashion. But she was undeterred. Now, with figuration all the rage—and particularly queer figuration that tends toward bodily abstraction and ambiguity—Quarles has garnered interest that led to gallery representation by Hauser & Wirth and Pilar Corrias, as well as institutional accolades, including a survey show opening this month at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Where many of her contemporaries in queer figuration—Doron Langberg, Kylie Manning, Salman Toor—paint bodies and their intimacies like delicate gossamer, Quarles paints hers in a weighted, freighted, burdensome form. Quarles evokes Surrealists like Roberto Matta and André Masson at their most grotesquely figurative. Some paintings border on meaty Francis Bacon-esque sexual horror, like New Moon (2021), in which a stack of enmeshed bodies reaches out to yank another out of a threshold. Quarles’s approach emphasizes an ongoing process of formation, maintaining the mystery of the atomized self.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had Quarles rethinking the way she views bodies. After all, her practice evolved from the idea that we view others through their faces: a socially distanced, masked society upends that mode of perceiving not only other people, but also ourselves and the world through which we all move. She’s still working through how these last few years have impacted her formal and aesthetic choices. But as her paintings and installations grow more elaborate—the planes and figures, patterns and textures mingling in ever more complex ways—one thing will, I imagine, remain the same, for Quarles is definitive about this, if about little else in her work: “There’s nothing to imply a straight-forward narrative.”  

Source link